January 16, 2017

Small Hand Made Gift Cards- An Etsy Order Bonus

Hello :)

Just finished a bunch of little handmade gift cards that go into my Etsy shop orders over $20. They are painted with acrylic wash (so it looks like watercolour), block printed and paired with a cute little envelope with patterned paper inside. Oh, and glitter!
I sprinkled glitter onto the still wet ink.
The hand carved stamp they are made from.
I have beads on my desk from another project I'm working on :)

My studio may have been taken over whilst in the process of making these by two little munchkins. They are always so intrigued and wanting to join in with what I'm doing, as you can probably well imagine!

Jules :)

January 08, 2017

My First Illustration Project For MATS A: An Online Illustration Class

Hello :)

So, I dove in and decided to enrol in an illustration Make Art That Sells e- course. I chose MATS A, which has five components: creating illustrations for bolt fabric, home decor, children's books, wall art & the gift market.
Illustration projects require much tea :)

I have completed the first project, which was bolt fabric: designing a pattern that could be used on fabric, with a couple of coordinates.

The theme was Pasta & Pyrex.

I think that pushing myself to create something I wouldn't normally create is a good thing. The last thing on my mind was drawing pasta and pyrex bowls. But I learned about the pasta shapes, by studying their twists and shadows; and the style of the bowls were fun to look at and let that retro style sink in then try to create my own retro design elements.
Preliminary sketches & art on my desk


I have found the course immensely helpful so far. There is always something more to learn, skills can always be improved on. I intend to work at my craft (illustrating) to make it better & better, and this class is perfect for that. I get so excited about learning, whether it's some sort of craft technique, or a tip on how to work more productively. And the MATS class is sprinkled throughout with some life tips that help us be better illustrators & artists.

There is so much jam packed into the class, such as galleries of past work, reviews on students work, interviews and industry insider tips. I find the content varies so much and that keeps me motivated as it feels fresh when you're always focussing on something new.
My finished illustration for the bolt fabric assignment

Next up is home decor which I am mega excited about and we are illustrating some images that could be used on ceramic plates, using Staffordshire Pottery as inspiration. Here is a study/ sketch I have done to start this component. I am now working on the roughs and then I will dive into creating the final illustrations. Stay tuned!

Jules :)

January 03, 2017

Bookcase Update- DIY Fabric Wallpaper Project

Still working away at our home decorating finish-upstairs project. Today The Mr Man painted some more walls whilst I indulged in a bit of fabric "wallpapering". I attacked some backs of some shelves to add some more colour. Because, as Iris says, "More is More, less is a bore". A good quote to live by when decorating I think ;)
Image created by Kenzie Elston, via Lori Siebert

I shun the home decorating "rules". I have four pendant lights upstairs- three of them being a different design. The only people we need to make happy are ourselves in this house; I do not care if someone walks into our house and doesn't like what they see. They don't live here ;)

So, the fabric wallpapering project! I've seen this idea floating around before on Pinterest and was very curious to see how well it worked. Conclusion? Big thumbs up! It's easy, I had everything I needed already at home, and it provides a quick effective update for little effort.
Idea found at How about Orange. I changed the recipe a little, to simplify it a bit.

Get yourself a 500ml (17 ounce) jug or bowl that can withstand boiling water. Whisk 1/4 cup of cornstarch/cornflour with around 1/2 a cup of water (I didn't bother measuring the water here). Then fill to the 500ml level with boiling water & whisk again. Leave to cool. I used mine while it was still warm because I am impatient.
My shelves all clean, books removed, and ready to go!

Measure your space to wallpaper and cut your fabric to size. Don't cut any smaller than the area although a couple of times I mis-measured, and a strip of fabric to patch an area goes unnoticed. The fabric will stretch slightly as you apply it so you may need to trim some edges.

I found for these smaller areas I liked to paint the starch mix onto the surface to be covered, then smooth the fabric on from top to bottom and then paint over the top. Some tutorials online suggest washing fabric first, but I used a variety of unwashed fabrics and no colours ran for me. It also works painting the back of the fabric and smoothing on to the surface, but I found this way took a little longer to get all the creases out of the fabric.
For edges, I pressed to the edge, then folded over to make a visible fold to cut along. You just peel the fabric back, cut, then replace. You could also draw with a pencil first for more accuracy.
Then, give the top a coat of the starch mix, pushing little creases and air bubbles out to the side with your paintbrush.
The starch dries totally clear and matte, so it just looks like the fabric did in the first place, not darkened at all.
Before
After
Apparently this comes off easily when you're tired of the look, although I haven't tested that yet.

I put fabric behind the shelves of this buffet, and the bookcase surrounding our tv. It's brightened things up and I'm always happy with more colour around me. 
So, happy with my project, especially the righthand side bookshelf of the tv unit, which has a nice rainbow effect.

Jules :)

December 31, 2016

Let's Bring on The New Year!

2017: Bring it on!
I'm going to work, work, work!

Things I am aiming to improve or work on:

-Be more organised. I am planning out ALL of my projects for 2017 with a set schedule. I am currently searching for a big yearly wall planner that doesn't look all office- like. If someone knows of one, please let me know!

-Finish some damn art and projects! I have a lot of those pieces that are in-between the excitement stage of starting or finishing a painting. For me, it's hard to keep going because I get a new shiny bright idea and want to move onto the next thing. I need to stay focussed! And when a piece is half finished it doesn't look much good. Because it's not finished! I have to remind myself that that is the reason why, and not because it's a failed piece. Over this  break I have picked a few old pieces up and finished them. My studio is smelling of varnish :) We also finished a couple of mosaic projects that I started ages ago with the kids.
-Stress less. I am a big stresser! I need to chill out and go with the flow more. I think being more organised and structured with my work will help, as I will not have to worry about how much I can get done. I need to enjoy my work more and realise I can only get done what I can get done in a day. And take breaks. Breaks are the best refreshers.

-I would like to say I will stick to a regular sketch book session and get back into exercise (I did start yoga again at the end of 2016), but whoa, one thing at a time! We'll see! (This year we have finally talked the Mr. Man into getting a pooch that will need to be walked.)

-My areas of focus this year are: improving my illustration skills through a MATS course that I'm currently taking (blog post coming soon), stick with creative blogging & tutorials, creating ranges of jewellery, and create lots and lots of art.
Creating some pendants for jewellery

-I'd also like to spend less time on social media (using that time to make art instead). I would still like to post as much as I do on Instagram and Facebook, but I check too frequently and then fall down the rabbit hole of scrolling through posts and then before I know it a half hour has passed. So, less frequent checking.
A pile of artwork on my desk.. some need finishing!

-I'm going to be cleaner! I don't really like cleaning but have realised a cleaner house and studio means my head is clearer to focus on creating art. I feel frustrated if I have house-y tasks hanging over my head.

I think these are attainable goals for the new year. I'm not a big fan of resolutions but for now I'm feeling the excitement of beginning a new year and am going to use that excitement to make some changes that I'm motivated to make.

I'll let you know how I go!!

Here's hoping 2017 is the best yet and you're motivated & excited too.

And apologies for the overuse of exclamation marks in this post!!

Jules :)

December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas!

As we lead up to the silly season we wish everyone happy and safe holidays from all of us here in the Madden household!
How many decorations can you add to a reindeer!?
Christmas in Australia is more about sunscreen than snow!

I sincerely thank everyone who has visited me here on my craft/ art blog, and my loyal followers who are always cheering me on.

I look forward to sharing more art, crafts, and creativity in the new year. 

Merry Christmas!

Jules :)


December 19, 2016

Christmas Present Wrapping Inspiration

If you're a little like me, you've probably left wrapping presents until the last minute! I asked a couple of arty friends for photos, plus gathered some extra inspiration online. 
I think what works is a combination of pretty papers, ribbons/ ties, nice gift tags and some extra decorations. Handmade tags and papers always get a big extra tick from me!
Add some sparkles with glitter or sequins.
I love the eclectic look of this bowerbird style of wrapping by Deb Dorgan
Colourful little gifts with paper designed by Leah Bartholomew
I love the bauble- adding idea by Tijana and the hand painted cards.
Local artist Helen Timbury uses her excess printed papers as wrapping. I love this eco idea and the colour.
Don't lick this paper... even though it looks good enough to eat. Via Laura Blythman
Simple but effective. I like the pine fronds touch. Found at Rachel Pearce
Can you go wrong with a dala horse? Via Veronika Marshall

I hope you enjoyed that line up.

And I hope your Christmas tasks are running to schedule! This week we will be making some gingerbread, a few other dishes for Christmas day, and I will be slowing down with my work and enjoying ourselves a bit. 

Hopefully the ideas have inspired you a little if you feel like getting a bit creative wrapping those last minute pressies.

Jules :)

December 15, 2016

Some Photos From Our Backyard

The other evening it was lovely and warm so we thought we'd hang around in the backyard and I took some photos. We went inside when the mozzies started coming out. (They love me and Miss 8.)
Apparently my mosaic doggy was thirsty and needed a drink :)
A pond and water feature that the Mr created. Habitat, for frogs!
This froglet was tiny!
The backyard is pretty much the Mr's project and he has planted Australian natives throughout. We get all kinds of wildlife including parrots. We get rosellas, king parrots and the awesome and prehistoric sounding black cockatoos. One day I might be able to get a photo of these birds!

My favourite angle of the house & future fire pit area.
I love the fluffy looking Acacia Cog plants.
This is the area of garden that I take over and I've put in some non- native plants. This is the kids area. It has their cubby house which you can see in more detail in this blog post.
As the sun was setting it really brought out the colour of these magnificent Kangaroo Paw flowers. They really grow like crazy in Gippsland. They are taller than me.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some photos of around our backyard. Rest assured it's not all pretty! We are on an acre and are in the process of tackling some majorly big weeds!

Jules :)
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